Psychotropic drug prescriptions higher among U.S. children than Europeans

September 26, 2008

American youth are between two and three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic treatments than children in Europe, according to the September 25 online Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

American youth are between two and three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic treatments than children in Europe, according to the September 25 online Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

The prevalance of these drugs was 6.66% among American children and adolescents compared with 2.9% aming Dutch youth and 2% among German youth. In addition, multiple simultaneous use of prescription psychotropic medications occurred in 19.2% of American youth, compared with 8.5% and 5.9% of Dutch and German youth, respectively.

The researchers stated that these differences between Europe and America may be explained by different diagnostic classification systems, government cost restrictions in Europe, and a higher per capita number of child psychiatrists in America, as well as the common presence of direct-to-consumer drug advertising in the U.S.